Comfortable and well padded—one of the most comfortable harnesses tested.
Durable tie-in point
Every part of the harness is full
Easy to clip and unclip haul loop
Gear loop placement and design
Great security with traditional, manually double backed buckles
Leg loop buckles can get in the way while climbing and be uncomfortable
Bulky and heavier compared to other harnesses tested
Gear loops are on the small side
The Metolius Deluxe is a great harness for trad climbers looking for a comfortable harness with the extra safety features found in Metolius’ SafeTech line of harnesses. The Deluxe proved remarkably comfortable when I used this harness while hanging for hours at a time though some testers experienced some discomfort with the leg loops buckles.
Comfort The Metolius Deluxe was one of the most comfortable harnesses tested. The shaped, 3/8” foam waist belt and thickly padded leg loops both were comfortable while hanging for extended periods of time. The Deluxe proved remarkably comfortable when I used this harness while hanging for hours at a time while rebolting a steep, overhanging route in Rifle Mountain Park. Some testers experienced some discomfort with the leg loops buckles. The buckles are in a position on the leg loops where they can interfere with men’s “family jewels” during climbing, particularly in certain climbing positions.
Adjustability/Smooth Buckles The Deluxe utilizes traditional, manually double backed buckles on the waist belt and each leg loop. For a traditional buckle, they proved to be fairly smooth and easily adjusted. Compared to more modern speed buckles common on many harnesses today they lack some ease and smoothness. Some testers didn’t like having to double back the buckles and had a harder time finding an appropriate fit due to their adjustability. All testers appreciated the buckles for the security they provide, particularly the ability to use a leg loop as a full strength clip-in point, such as when backing up a rappel.
Leg Loops The Deluxe’s leg loops are comfortable thanks to generous padding and their shaped fit. Because of the traditional buckles, it can be a little more timely getting the proper fit on the leg loops but once in position, the leg loops were easy to get on and off and were comfortable during extended climbing sessions.
Gear Loops The gear loops on the Deluxe received some mixed reviews. Many testers commented that they seemed on the small side and lacked the contoured shape of many other harness gear loops. The front loops are designed to pop out and be easy to clip and all testers found that to be the case. Plastic tubing over the nylon loops do a great job of keeping these gear loops in place. The rear gear loops are designed to sit flat so they are more comfortable when wearing a pack. The drawback to that design is they can be harder to clip and testers gave mixed reviews for that feature.
Weight The Deluxe was the heaviest harness tested at 19 ounces, 6 ounces more than the Black Diamond Momentum 3S. Testers also made note of the bulk of the harness. The plush padding and extra features of the Deluxe also come at the cost of weight and bulk. Climbers looking at that harness can decide if the comfort and security of the Deluxe is worth the extra weight.
Other Features The Deluxe is available in a men’s and women’s version and includes many features. Testers loved the Deluxe’s full strength, easy to clip and unclip haul loop. It was easy to find and easy to clip, exactly the way a haul loop should be.
The Deluxe also features a reinforced tie-in point to provide for extra durability over the long run. There are also two belay loops, side-by-side. Some testers appreciated this feature because it can offer some increased functionality such as when securing in a rappel backup. Some testers didn’t see the point to it and I had a hard time with the two belay loops when I accidentally clipped a single loop when aid climbing up a steep, overhanging route and then had a hard time unclipping it. Climbers who are skeptical of single belay loops will love the double belay loop, although technically, single belay loops shouldn’t be a safety concern.
Value AT $105, the Metolius Deluxe comes with a fairly high price tag. It was one of the most expensive harnesses tested and was $35 more than harnesses such as the Petzl Sama and Trango Liberty. For comfort, quality of gear loops and safety features, many potential buyers may find the Deluxe to be a great value and worth the price.